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Bio-techs in crops to help Pakistan earn more revenues through exports

Pakistan has bright prospects of doubling yields of rice, maize and other crops through application of bio-technology methods which would help the country make more revenues through their exports.

Pakistan is still not importing Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods. Most European Union countries, Japan, Korea and China are importing genetically modified corn, soya, soya-meal, and canola.

In a media briefing, Tan Siang-Hee, Executive Director of `CropLife Asia’ said Pakistan needs to introduce bio-technology and other modern methods to enhance farm production beyond self-sufficiency.

“Pakistan is on track, and after attaining self-sufficiency in food, the country needs to adopt such modern technologies and methods which would help make agricultural production sustainable and improve conditions of the farmers,” he said.

CropLife Asia is a Singapore-based international organization – carrying out research and development to introduce innovations in crop protection and plant bio-technology.

Dr Siang-Hee disclosed that 18 million farmers around the world have successfully adopted bio-technology; with this, the total beneficiary peasant families have reached 65 million.

Globally, a total area of bio-tech crops since 1996 has reached 185.1 million hectares in 26 industrialized and developing countries.

Dr Hee stressed the need for Pakistani farmers to be educated about introduction and benefits of bio-technology, improvements in infrastructure of agriculture as a whole, and suggested the government to take measures for value-addition, processing and efficient mechanism for export of fruits and vegetables.

Dr Siang-Hee said he also held a meeting with Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, who informed that a consensus on issue of bio-technology would be developed through consultations with all stakeholders including farming community. The use of bio-technology is already under consideration of the government and a committee has been formed, Bosan said.

Meanwhile, mobile applications were also becoming popular in Pakistan. One of the mobile operators, Mobilink had already launched Value Added Service (VAS) “Ba Khabar Kisaan” to connect farmers, agribusinesses and rural communities to increase productivity, profitability and innovation in the agriculture sector by providing timely and accurate information.

The app based service utilizing interactive voice response technology is providing farmers information and services related to agriculture such as optimized cultivation methods, modern farming techniques, health education for farmers, health precautions for plants, 24/7 helpline with training, weather information, crop insurance, market related information and a platform for sales.

Another operator Telenor, in continuation of its efforts to take digitization of Pakistani agriculture to the next level, has introduced a project called “Connected Agriculture Platform for Punjab (CAPP) which aims at empowering Pakistani farmers.

Jabri, Pervez. Bio-techs in crops to help Pakistan earn more revenues through exports. Business Recorder, September 28, 2017.

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